Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sotheby's to Sell First Major Body of Work Undertaken by Roy Lichtenstein in the 1990s

Sotheby's to Sell First Major Body of Work Undertaken by Roy Lichtenstein in the 1990s

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Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Interior with three hanging lamps, 1991. 50 by 30 1/4 in. Graphite, printed paper collage and acrylic on paper mounted on board. Estimate: 500,000—700,000 USD. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's.

NEW YORK.- Interiors was the first major body of work undertaken by Roy Lichtenstein in the 1990s. A rebuttal of the types of excessive interiors that had graced the pages of Architectural Digest in the 1980s, works such as Interior with Three Hanging Lamps showcase uncluttered and idealized interiors in a highly graphic and stylized manner.

Lichtenstein had already investigated interiors in Bathroom (1964) and later in his Artist's Studio series (early 1970s), inspired by Matisse paintings. In the 1990s, he revisited this theme. Interior with Three Hanging Lamps exemplifies Lichtenstein's fascination with this topic.

The interior is enriched with two paintings-within-a-painting, a device reaching far back into art history. The more prominent painting is a depiction of a table-and-chairs arrangement which alludes ironically to the 'actual' interior. The same grouping appears in a related work, Collage for Interior with Red Wall (Sotheby's, New York, May 11, 2006, lot 269). The other painting is a sophisticated allusion to Lichtenstein's Modern Paintings series of the 1960s.

Compositionally, the diagonal layout emphasizes the spatiality of the interior, while at the same time primary colors and thick lines, constant elements in the artist's works, emphasize the two-dimensionality of the picture surface.

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